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Youth – a relative term

by on September 25, 2012

Evidence – if it were needed – of ‘youth’ being a relative concept.

The Guardian reports on the possible candidates to replace Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. One of the outsiders is said to be Nick Baines, recently appointed bishop of Bradford.

The article goes on to describe him as ‘active on Twitter, where journalists notice him, and he is both interested in the media and largely unafraid of it. He is an evangelical, which ticks one important box, but youth (he’s 51) and inexperience should tell against him’.

In the world of work, what counts as ‘youth’ obviously depends on the job.

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One Comment
  1. Paula Fitzgerald permalink

    Yes, what may be considered ‘youth’ is highly contextual. Observing elite athletes..they may be ‘old’ at 28-30. In fact, Ussain Bolt was asked at the last Olympic Games whether he will be participating in the 2016 games… as he would be in his late twenties by then…). Ballet dancers reach the top of their careers at about 30 and tend to retire during their late 30s/early 40s. However, opera singers may continue singing well into their 50s and 60s (Pavarotti, and Domingo are examples). On a side note, Placido Domingo’s voice register has changed from being a tenor to a baritone as he (chronologically) aged. Roles are equally demanding but his voice register has gradually shifted.

    The point to be made however, is that these elite athletes and artists usually continue to use their exceptional talent and performing experience to contribute to their chosen sport or art as coaches, ballet masters/mistresses, opera maestros, sport/artistic directors, etc. Unlike what happens outside sports or the arts, these individuals’ do not automatically stop ‘being talented’ as they chronologically age, they remain ‘talented’ but this is managed in a different way. My point is that they not routinely exited and ‘discarded’, they take an active directorship, mentoring and/or coaching/teaching role to the youth, which allows them to remain active and take a nurturing role whilst continuing to deploy their talent and experience in a pro-active manner and where everybody: older, younger, everybody in-between, and the actual organisation wins. I wonder if perhaps the HR dept. in organisations (outside sports or the arts) should take note of these examples when managing their workforces?

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